There’s been a lot of talk about sexual harassment lately in light of the #MeToo movement. However, the majority of the stories that are making headlines are about female victims of sexual harassment. Although most sexual harassment victims are female, it’s important for the public to understand that men can be victims of sexual harassment, too.
The Statistics Surrounding Sexual Harassment
The number of men filing complaints with the EEOC has gradually declined over the last five years. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 6,696 complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace in 2017, and 1,105 of these complaints were filed by men. But, these numbers might not tell the full story.
The Underreporting of Sexual Harassment
Many male and female victims choose not to report sexual harassment. Women often don’t tell anyone because they fear they won’t be believed or they will hurt their careers by speaking out. But, men usually stay silent for very different reasons.
Many men fear that admitting they are victims of sexual harassment will make them look weak. Since masculinity is associated with strength, men often believe that coming forward about their experience will make them appear to be less of a man. They fear that others will think they are weak because they weren’t strong enough to stop the harassment or assault.
Men also hesitate to come forward because of the false perception that young boys are the only males that are ever sexually harassed or assaulted. This myth makes many men question whether what they experienced was actually sexual misconduct.
Some men choose not to report sexual harassment because of what it might make others think about their own sexuality. A man who is harassed by a woman may worry about being teased for rejecting the woman’s advances. Furthermore, male victims often think that being harassed by another man implicates their own sexuality.
Because so many men choose not to report their experiences, the statistics surrounding male victims of sexual harassment are inaccurate. Even though the EEOC reports that about 16.5% of complaints are submitted by men, the number of men who are actually harassed is probably much higher.
Everyone deserves to work in an environment that is free from sexual harassment. If you have been sexually harassed, please call Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. today. Our employment law attorneys are proud to represent both male and female victims of sexual harassment. Call 918-582-2500, toll free (800) 722-8880, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.